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Duterte tells UNHRC: Get the truth from the media

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By Argyll Geducos

President Duterte appealed to the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) that should they decide to probe his drug war, they should get the truth from the media and not his critics.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the appreciation dinner for House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at The Manila Hotel on July 9, 2019. (VALERIE ESCALERA / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (VALERIE ESCALERA / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte made the statement after Iceland, backed by at least two dozen other countries, called on the UNHRC to present a comprehensive written report on the situation.

In an interview in Malacañang, Duterte said that the UNHRC is free to do their job but they should take another look at the details coming from his critics, especially from detained Senator Leila de Lima.

“Bahala sila kung ano ang trabaho nila… They can. But tayo lahat. They will realize that ‘yang kay De Lima, masadsad talaga kayo diyan. Naniwala sila doon sa ano (It’s up to them. That’s their job. They can do it. But they will realize that the details from De Lima may place them at a disadvantage)…” he said.

“My only question before a court if I be called in, Ms. De Lima are you a moral person? Then I will show some clips. Is this how you remain moral?” he added.

According to Duterte, the UNHRC should state their purpose for coming to the Philippines if they decide to do so. He, however, appealed to them to find the truth from the media instead of his critics.

“They better go to the media and the media will tell them the truth. Palabas ninyo yung footages niyong lahat (Show them all of your footage). Hear everybody,” he said.

Last week, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that any move that will interfere with how the country is run is considered an interference with Philippine sovereignty.

“We already made our stand. Any move that will interfere with the sovereignty of this country, the management of this country by a sitting President elected overwhelmingly by the people, to our mind is an interference with our sovereignty,” he said.

Panelo then said that those who initiated the calls for the UN to look into the matter is being misled by false information by those who do not like Duterte.

“The problem with this, those who initiated it, they are believing in the false news, false information, the false narratives initiated and spread by those who hate the President’s guts and political will, and supported by some questionable members of not media mainstream, but outside of that,” he said.

President Duterte has repeatedly called out international human rights groups, including the UN, for criticizing his drug war which left at least 5,000 people dead, based on data from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The Philippines has consistently denied claims that Duterte’s drug war has left more than 20,000 people as victims of extrajudicial killings.

In its two-page draft resolution, Iceland called on the Philippines to cooperate on the probe of the UNHRC.

It also urged the Philippines to refrain from all acts of intimidation or retaliation. Earlier, Duterte threatened to arrest ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda if she would set foot in the country to investigate.

According to a report by Reuters, Iceland’s resolution is backed by at least 24 countries, mostly European nations. Its resolution needs the approval of majority of UNHRC’s 47 member-states.

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